India

Xiaomi has become an undisputed leader by market share

Can Samsung turn the tides this year?

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For more than a year, Xiaomi has been leading the Indian smartphone market in terms of market share and there’s no stopping them. The brand has single-handedly managed to oust local brands like Micromax, and even experienced players like Samsung have taken a hit.

According to IDC, in Q4 2018, Xiaomi managed to grab an astounding 28.9 percent of the market, followed by Samsung at 18.7 percent. While Vivo and OPPO have managed to grab a decent 9.7 percent and 7.1 percent respectively, their rate of growth has slowed down considerably.


If we consider the complete year of 2018 against 2017, Vivo has managed to grow just 0.6 percent year-over-year and OPPO actually dipped by 0.3 percent. The report also says that online-focused brands drove the online channel share to an all-time high of 38.4 percent. On the other hand, offline sales registered a meager 6.7 percent growth.

During the last quarter of 2018, Realme managed to grab quite a huge chunk of the market with a share of 7.5 percent. The sub-brand of OPPO was launched just half a year back and has already released a wide array of phones.

The average selling price of phones continued to be in the budget segment at roughly US$ 158 (INR 11,000). More than half of the shipments belong in the US$ 100 to US$ 200 segment, and that’s where brands intend to lead.

In the end, Xiaomi shipped more than 40 million units in 2018, followed by Samsung with almost 32 million. Samsung had been relatively silent last year, but has now changed strategy with the M-series launch. The South Korean giant is focused on taking back the budget and midrange segments by reportedly launching a plethora of phones in the coming months.

Lastly, OnePlus has once again emerged as the leader in the premium segment, followed by Samsung and Apple in the super-premium segment.

India

Samsung Galaxy M40 is a budget phone with triple rear cameras

Takes on the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Realme 3 Pro

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Samsung has been on a launching spree this year due to increasing competition from Xiaomi, Realme and Nokia. The brand has announced multiple phones within a short span of time covering every possible price segment. After the successful launch of the Galaxy M10, M20, and M30, the brand is back with another offer; this time bringing flagship features at an affordable price.

The Galaxy M40 has been announced today in India and it directly takes on the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Realme 3 Pro. With a triple rear camera setup and punch-hole front camera, the brand has aggressively marketed the phone.


On the front is a 6.3-inch Full HD+ display that Samsung prefers to call Infinity-O. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and features a punch-hole camera on the top-left corner. It also includes Screen Sound technology that enables the display panel to generate audio vibrations natively without using a conventional earpiece.

The design is similar to other M-series phones and features a physical fingerprint scanner on the rear. Other authentication options include face unlock.

The rear features a triple camera setup consisting of a 32-megapixel primary lens, 5-megapixel secondary sensor, and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens. The camera UI offers smart HDR, auto color saturation, stickers, and beauty enhancements. The front houses a 16-megapixel selfie shooter.

The phone is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 675 processor, coupled with 6GB RAM and 128GB internal memory. Lastly, these internals are backed by a 3500mAh battery with support for fast charging. It runs on One UI based on Android 9.0 Pie out of the box.

The Galaxy M40 is priced at INR 19,990 (US$ 288) and will go on sale from June 18 via Amazon and Samsung Online Shop in Midnight Blue and Seawater Blue gradient color options.

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India

Nokia 2.2 is the most affordable Android One phone you can grab

Power of stock Android, without the price of a Pixel

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HMD Global has been actively launching and selling new phones in developing markets and it has decided to go down a slow and steady path. While brands like Xiaomi, Realme, and Samsung are aggressive in terms of marketing, Nokia has found an unmatched sweet spot for itself.

Continuing the legacy of launching Android One phones, today they’ve announced the launch of the Nokia 2.2. It’s a budget contender that comes with a special introductory price of INR 6,999 for the 2GB+16GB option. The second variant with a 3GB+32GB configuration is available for INR 7,999. The special prices are applicable until June 30 when a purchase is made via Flipkart or Nokia’s online store.


The Nokia 2.2 has a compact design that incorporates a 5.71-inch LCD display with an HD+ resolution. A small notch houses the front camera and the back is made of plastic, designed to imitate glass.

Powering the phone is a quad-core MediaTek A22 processor and storage is expandable thanks to a microSD card slot. Backing these internals is a 3000mAh battery that supports 5W charging. Obviously, its also equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack.

On the rear is a 13-megapixel single lens camera while the front has a 5-megapixel selfie shooter. A new low-light image fusion mode captures multiple pictures in dark surroundings to generate a better picture with less noise and improved sharpness. Other standard features include HDR, Colourise, and Beautify.

Like all other Nokia-branded phones, it’s a part of Android One and ships with Android 9 Pie out of the box. Additionally, two years of Android updates and three years of security updates are promised.

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Enterprise

ASUS is banned from using ‘ZenFone’ branding in India

As ruled by a court

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Much like most companies, ASUS identifies itself with one brand — the Zen lineup. Throughout the years, the Taiwanese company has released dozens of ZenFones and ZenBooks. With all the experience, ASUS has made Zen its own identity.

Naturally, if you take Zen away, ASUS is in for a marketing nightmare. Unfortunately, an obscure Indian smartphone maker is doing just that. Recently, the India-based Telecare Network has sued ASUS for using Zen as part of the latter’s branding.


According to the court case, Telecare Network has owned “Zen” and “Zen Mobile” since 2008. On their official website, Zen Mobile sells a good number of smartphones and feature phones. The site even advertises their aftermarket service as “Zen Care,” similar to ASUS’ own service. Regardless, ASUS’ usage came second. In comparison, ASUS started using “Zen” in 2014.

Of course, ASUS grew so much bigger than the Indian smartphone brand. Despite the presence of more competitive brands, ASUS is still a global player. Telecare Network’s move is a strategic one. The Indian company accuses ASUS of malicious intent in adopting the “Zen” branding.

In its defense, ASUS claims the universality of the Zen philosophy. Asustek chairman Jonney Shih drew a lot of inspiration from the Buddhist concept. ASUS’ defense hinges on “Zen” as a usable name in the public domain. The company defends that no one can claim exclusivity on the concept.

To ASUS’ chagrin, Indian courts did not see it that way. According to the courts, while the concept is universal as a Buddhist teaching, “Zen” is still an ownable property in the tech industry. Hence, the brand’s defense holds no ground. Moreover, the court can prove that Zen Mobile used the “Zen” branding way before ASUS.

As such, the court has banned ASUS from “selling, offering, and advertising” any devices carrying the “Zen” branding. The ban will take effect after eight weeks (or around the end of July). Further, both parties will have a second hearing on July 10.

Of course, the ban comes from India. However, India remains one of the world’s richest smartphone markets. This decision will likely have wide-reaching repercussions in the future. At the very least, ASUS needs a name change in India. If ASUS fails to defend itself, expect a whole new branding scheme.

SEE ALSO: ZenFone 6 is the best-rated phone for selfies on DxOMark

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